Our last major stopover was in Cork in the southern part of Ireland. Again we did day trips. Luckily we went to FOTA Wildlife Park and Cobh Heritage Centre on our first day. Why? Well the Irish Open Golf was playing on FOTA Island starting the next day. There was enough traffic on the day we went, with Garda practicing how they were going to be directing the traffic to the various parking areas for the golf.
FOTA Wildlife Park was open range rather than in big cages like at zoos. We saw zebras, giraffes, bison, kangaroos, many monkeys, many water birds as well as antelope, emu and ostrich. There was only an electric fence between your self and the animals. As the Irish school year is coming to a close, there were also lots of school groups at the park for their end of year excursion or field day.
Cobh Heritage Centre had a variety of exhibitions including Titanic, Emigration, Famine and Transportation. Cobh used to be called Queenstown and was where many convicts were sent out to Australia.
Another day we went to the Ring of Kerry. If you ever visit Ireland and only stay for a couple of days, take the bus trip from Dublin to Ring of Kerry. A long day but everything organized and you will see a great range of typical Irish sights and sounds. But we drove our car and found it very touristy, with 8 buses at one museum, 5 buses at a seaside village for lunch and so on. We had seen similar sights at other places around Ireland except that Killarney National Park actually had natural forest rather than lots of plantation pine trees.
Another day we decided to head toward Limerick and Tipperary. Miss W looked on the map and decided we could also visit some places in Australia, so we went through Charleville as well as Lismore. Often it is those last minute decisions that leave an impression and it certainly happened that day. We drove over the hills to Lismore, part of the Tipperary Heritage Trail – fantastic rhododendrons all over the hillside with a little lake just near the top of Vee Pass.
We also went to the most south westerly place in Ireland, Mizen Head. Lovely drive following the coast as much as possible. Some beautiful beaches especially nearing the head. Had a coffee at the tourist centre and walked part of the way out to the head. But Miss W. was not going to walk up and down 99 steps and walkways at 20% slope. We were lucky enough to see some minke whales as they rounded the head.
The last place we visited was Cork gaol – thinking this might be where William Jackson Sen and Jun might have been held before transportation to Australia. The gaol is walk through on your own with a numbered brochure. Lots of information about how the prisoners lived in the gaol.